Time for a governance refresh

By Ed Hammond | 08 May 2019

May often has the feeling of a new school term in democracy-land, particularly for those councils with elections. But with a new financial year, AGMs and spring in the air, it can affect us all. It’s a great time to review and reset good governance behaviours.

This can be done by understanding and addressing the needs of democratic accountability. For very new councillors (and even those returning) understanding council decision-making is fundamental to being able to effectively represent their constituents. It also helps manage expectations locally. A council culture that recognises democratic accountability, sees value in a councillor’s local knowledge and experience, and welcomes challenges to how things work locally is essential. This goes for officers’ understanding too. In many councils the role of the executive is often well understood but the broader political hinterland may not be. Now is the time to refresh staff and councillors’ understanding and expectations of working in a democratic/political environment.

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